The onset of Victoria’s schizophrenia was sudden. While attending a church service, a flood of confused and convoluted thoughts affected her mind. The experience shook her world.
Subsequently, she became increasingly aware of erratic and illogical messages that compelled her to carry out certain tasks. While grocery shopping one afternoon, she was unable to ignore a mental command directing her to buy one of every spice in the store. She believed the message had come from God, and she spent over $200 on spices.
Several weeks later, in 2008, Victoria consented to be evaluated by a psychiatrist at UCLA. She was diagnosed with schizophrenia and began treatment with anti-psychotic medication. Risperdal enabled her to resist acting out delusional and compelling commands, and over a period of twelve months, the commands stopped completely. Victoria enrolled in college and completed a bachelor’s degree in sociology and a master’s degree in psychology from Brandman University, in 2012. From 2011 to 2015, she held professional positions in her field of study.
As time passed, Victoria again struggled with delusional beliefs such as believing herself to be the greatest person to have ever lived. However, through dedicated medication compliance, her insight and coping skills expanded to a level where she could better separate delusion from reality and not act upon commands. In 2017, when her medication was changed from Risperdal to Clozaril the delusions stopped completely.
Today, Victoria feels much more herself than ever before. She describes herself as a “fighter,” and is determined to never give up trying to live the best life possible with schizophrenia. She enjoys close relationships with her three children and husband of twenty-six years. She finds fulfillment in practicing her religion without the delusions. She is an author and maintains a blog about her recovery and her life, which she has reclaimed from schizophrenia.